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The fate of a male pit bull from San Francisco is in the hands of a local judge. Charlie the pit bull is accused of racing up to a mounted park police officer, biting the officer and the horse, and then chasing the horse at least a mile and a half through The Presidio. The officer was thrown from his mount and briefly lost consciousness. The horse was bitten and nipped as it made a beeline for its stable. The dog's owner says an inexperienced, poorly trained police horse caused the whole episode and charges of assaulting a police officer should be thrown out.

Charlie was out running with his master last month when he veered over towards the horse. The pit bull first bit the heel of the officer's boot, then chomped down on the horse's front leg. The startled animal reared and the officer was thrown to the ground. The horse took off at a full gallop with the pit bull in pursuit. Police say it continued to attack the police horse until another officer on a motorcycle was able to scare the dog off with his siren and air horn.

Charlie has been declared a "vicious and dangerous dog" and was ordered put down by a superior court judge. The owner appealed, and the euthanasia has been delayed while the judge reviews the case. Charlie, meanwhile, has been neutered in hopes of calming him down somewhat.

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As the controversy over whether pit bulls are inherently more vicious than other breeds of dogs continues, so do incidents of pit bull attacks on unsuspecting victims. Just this week a woman and her young son were bitten by a dog who slipped off his leash while out for a walk.

The attack happened in Vallejo, California, Tuesday night just before 9:30. The woman said she and her son were in a parking lot when a man walking his dog passed by. Police said the dog somehow managed to get out of his collar and when he did, he went after the 5-year-old boy. As his mother tried to protect him, she was bitten, too.

The man and his dog had left the scene by the time police arrived, but police said they later found the dog nearby. Two officers, one from animal control, tried to take the dog, which they said became aggressive and tried to attack both officers. After a Taser shock proved ineffective, the officer shot the dog. It's not clear whether the dog died, but even if it can no longer attack, its owner could be hit with a premises liability lawsuit if the mother decides to file one to recoup her and her son's medical costs.

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